Game – Korean

Korean Jacks – Gongi

“This is how you play Gongi, which means Korean Jacks.  The game contains five very small plastic cubes.  Each player alternates turns and goes as follows: you throw the five jacks out of your hand and then grab one jack, throw it in the air, and pick up another jack.  You then proceed to throw both jacks up and collect another jack from the ground.  Keep doing this until all five are picked up.  Then throw them down on the floor again, and pick them up in sets of two’s.  Repeat and then do sets of three’s, four’s, and then all five.  You cannot touch other jacks when scooping up particular jacks.  If you do, then it is the next person’s turn.  If you drop any of the jacks in the air then it is the next player’s turn.  When you go through a complete series you receive a point and can play up to whatever you chose.”

“I learned this game back when I lived in Korea.  It was popular amongst children of all ages, ranging from 6 year olds to teenagers.  When I moved to the United States in Middle School, I brought the game over and several of my Korean friends from the States knew the game, too.  We played the game during nutrition and lunch at school and it actually became very popular amongst students.  Gongi pieces could be purchased in Korea Town in Los Angeles.  This game reminds me of my childhood growing up in Korea, and although I stopped playing it as I got older, every now and then I play by myself to get rid of stress.”

I sat down and played a game of Gongi with Brian and it resembles American Jacks somewhat.  It is interesting how two games can resemble each other when they are coming from two completely different countries.  Many childhood games serve as memories of youth to those who are too old to play them; however, the reason these games live on is because older adults pass them down to their children and even older children pass games down to younger children.  This is how other folk games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, American Jacks, and in this case Korean Jacks have lived on throughout the years.